Negotiators Reach NDAA Agreement

Congressional negotiators reached an agreement on a $612 billion Fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, which once again blocks the Air Force’s effort to divest the A-10 fleet, authorizes “urgently needed acquisition reforms,” and begins to reform the military compensation and benefits system, according to the summary of the conference report. The legislation authorizes $515 billion in defense spending in addition to $89.2 billion for overseas contingency operations funds. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill over $38 billion in OCO funds, which will be used as a Budget Control Act overflow valve, but House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said in a Sept. 29 statement he “is hopeful that the President will remove his veto threat, putting politics aside and putting the country’s security first.” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the acquisition reforms included in the legislation are “some of the most significant … in a generation,” noting the money saved by reducing headquarters and administrative overhead will be reinvested to provide “critical military capabilities for our warfighters, [meet] unfunded priorities of our service chiefs and combatant commanders, and [support] critical national security priorities.” (McCain statement.)